Daily Duties of an Animation Artist

Japanese Animation Eyes image by Infs from Fotolia.com

Animation jobs require modern animators to not only possess traditional skills like drawing and storyboarding, but also a working knowledge of software and good communication skills. While the daily tasks will depend upon the project, several tasks pop up on a regular basis.

Meet With Clients and Staff Members

Unlike the work of a studio artist, which requires the artist to spend many solitary hours in his studio, the animator meets with people regularly during his day-to-day business dealings. According to SkillSet, animators work in a variety of settings, including advertising studios, video game companies and films, and all of these environments have clients. An animator's job requires that he meets with his clients to talk about what the client's goals for a piece of animation are and convey his ideas. Additionally, the animator has daily contact with the people on his animation/ work team. These artistic professionals discuss the needs of the businesses' clients, the progress of ongoing projects and problem areas in projects at hand.

Creating Storyboards

According to SkillSet, an animator draws out a story long before she ever sets to animating it in a computer program in the form of storyboards. These include camera shot details along with the accompanying lines from the script. According to the Ohio State University Animation website, an effective storyboard helps move the story forward visually and helps the animator work out potential problem shots in the storyboard instead of in the animation phase—a much simpler prospect.

Creating Characters and Sketches

Once the screenwriter completes his job, the animator sets to creating the characters. According to John Lasseter of Pixar, every movement that a character makes on the screen must have a reason behind it. All movements of the character must move the story forward and be logical in sequence—in other words, they must appear to be motivated by the character and not the animator. Part of the animator's job, then, is to read the script to look for physical characteristics as they appear in the script, design characters based on those specifications and then animate them. To do this, the animator often makes a number of character sketches and final drawings before bringing them into a 3-D animation program. Because so many animators work on a large film, for example, these drawings form an image from which all the animators can work.

Recording Dialogue and Working With Editors

According to Prospects, part of the animator's work on a daily basis is to record the actor's dialogue and to work with editors on the various projects. The animator may involve herself in making backgrounds, special effects or graphics for her editor or director. The animator aims to assist in finishing the animated piece.

Working With Software

Modern animation requires the use of animation software. Jobs for animators demand that an animator is familiar with programs like Flash, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Lightwave, Softimage and Cinema 4D, according to Prospects. On any given day on the job, an animator may work with any or all of these programs.


About the Author

Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.

Photo Credits

  • Japanese Animation Eyes image by Infs from Fotolia.com